Written by Wes Schmidgall
Wednesday, 13 February 2013 00:00
These renderings were prepared for the first phase of the Elmwood Streetscape project. Both show East Main Street between Magnolia and Rose.
Julie Schmidt, P.E. Assistant Project Manager, TERRA Engineering, Ltd.
ELMWOOD —Months after a tornado devastated its downtown district, the Village of Elmwood received a $515,000 grant through the Illinois Transportation Enhancement Program to finance a streetscape project, in October 2010.
The streetscape project was designed to replace sidewalks, install ornamental lighting, make Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) improvements, such as rubberized wheelchair ramps at intersections and specific sloping of sidewalks, and install plants, in the village’s downtown district.
However, the village was unable to finance the entire streetscape project with the $515,000 grant, and decided to apply for an additional ITEP grant.
“The first grant we received in 2010 was for $515, 000,” said Elmwood Director of Economic Development Dick Taylor. “Once we started the engineering — those funds weren’t enough funds to do all that was included in the first application, so we made a second application in 2012 to help us complete the project that was originally proposed.”
On Jan. 30, the village was awarded a $1.7 million ITEP grant. Out of 54 recipients statewide, Elmwood received the only ITEP grant awarded to a community in the Illinois Department of Transportation’s District 4, a nine-county region that includes Peoria, Tazewell and Woodford counties.
“It’s something that’s been talked about for years,” said Taylor. “If it weren’t for the grant, it’s something we wouldn’t be able to do. This will make a significant impact on the appearance of the downtown and have an impact on the accessibility of the downtown.”
The village will finance phase 1 of its downtown streetscape project with the funds from the $515,000 ITEP grant as well as $128,000 from its general revenue fund. Phase 1 construction will start in March.
“In about six weeks, we’ll be starting what we’re calling phase 1,” said Taylor.
The downtown streetscape project will be completed in two phases. Phase 2 will start in the spring of 2014 and financed with funds from the $1.7 million ITEP grant.
TERRA Engineering Inc. of Peoria is engineering the project.
“We’re very excited for the city,” said TERRA Engineering Vice President George Ghareeb. “This takes the whole downtown project another step forward.”
Most of the buildings in Elmwood’s downtown district were damaged on June 5, 2010, as a result of a tornado. Since then, all of the buildings that could be repaired have been repaired. A couple buildings that couldn’t be fixed have been razed and have not been rebuilt.
The building that housed the Mcquire Shoe Store, 104 W. Main St., Elmwood, was demolished and is being rebuilt into a two-story commercial building.
“We still have one building that is under construction that is replacing one that was demolished,” said Taylor. “We are calling it the Whitney Building. It will become available commercial space.”
Nearly $50 million in ITEP grants were awarded for transportation projects throughout Illinois, including the $1.7 million grant that was awarded to Elmwood, on Jan. 30.
Beginning this year, the Illinois Department of Transportation will award ITEP grants annually, instead of every two years.
Last Updated on Tuesday, 12 February 2013 15:43